Low Wages Leads to Memory Loss

Low Wages Leads to Memory Loss

Is there any relation between low wages and memory life? A new study by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health claims that low wages is associated with health outcomes such as depressive symptoms, obesity, and hypertension.

“Our research provides new evidence that sustained exposure to low wages during peak earning years is associated with accelerated memory decline later in life,” said Katrina Kezios, PhD, postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and first author.

The researchers claimed that no studies had till now examined the specific relationship between low wages during working years and later-life cognitive functioning.

The American Journal of Epidemiology published the study.


The research looked into records from the National Health and Retirement Study (HRS) of adults for 1992-2016. They analyzed data from 2,879 individuals born between 1936 and 1941.

Low-wage was defined as hourly wage lower than two-thirds of the federal median wage for the corresponding year. The participants’ history of low wages into those who never earned low wages, intermittently earned low wages, or always earned low wages based on wages earned from 1992 to 2004 and then examined the relationship with memory decline over the next 12 years from 2004-2016.


In the study, the researchers said that low-wage earners experienced significantly faster memory decline in older age. They experienced approximately one excess year of cognitive ageing per a 10-year period.

“Our findings suggest that social policies that enhance the financial well-being of low-wage workers may be especially beneficial for cognitive health,” said senior author Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia Mailman School and the Columbia Butler Aging Center. “Future work should rigorously examine the number of dementia cases and excess years of cognitive aging that could be prevented under different hypothetical scenarios that would increase the minimum hourly wage.”

Memory is a psychological processes of acquiring, storing, retaining, and later retrieving information. Basically memory involves three major processes: encoding, storage, and retrieval. Memory loss cn be a sign of serious conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia.


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